Article Title

Albee's Gothic: The Resonances of Cliché


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The clear popular success of Tiny Alice and the smoke raised by critical analyses of that play constitute extremes that exaggerate the Albee situation, but illuminate, in doing so, our mixed reaction to the other plays. The choice of attitudes toward Tiny Alice seems limited at times to that of the thrilled audiences in New York, San Francisco, and London, or that of tedious scholarly legerdemain. Or the cloud of contempt: Susan Sontag writes of Albee's "sensationalism masking as cultural expose,"1 and Martin Gottfried writes of the play's "drowning in holy water over its head."2 But Gottfried goes on to admit the dramatic power of Tiny Alice, and an earlier comment on the play's limitations suggests a solution to his divided reaction and to our dilemma: "His [Albee's] discussion of philosophical material is hampered by a weakness of vocabulary, a propensity for exaggeration and an interest in the popular rather than the classical."3

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